Major Jackie Smith of the SA’s Antioch Corps said the jangling solicitors Americans are accustomed to seeing outside stores during the Christmas holidays are not usually volunteers. In fact, at $8 per hour, the workers last year consumed more than 60 percent of the cash collected.
Organizer MJ Rock decided to do something about that, and has recruited members of the local Soroptimist and Kiwanis clubs, as well as other volunteers, to fill as many shifts as possible over the holidays, enabling more of the proceeds to go to the folks in need.
The SA provides emergency assistance, after-school care and a summer day camp to East County families, as well as monthly food distributions. Each year, the Antioch Corps collects and distributes toys for 3,000 local children. A third of the toys are distributed by Santa himself at an annual Community Kids Christmas Party.
On Nov. 6, this year’s bell-ringing season will kick off with local celebrities doing the honors. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., local notables including former pro football players, mayors, citizens of the year and even Oakland Raiders mascot Gorilla Rilla will be seen beside kettles from Pittsburg to Discovery Bay, dressed in Victorian-era costumes provided by the Delta Quilters and Brentwood Embroidery & Sewing. Other volunteers, wearing red “I’m a volunteer” aprons, will continue to staff the kettles until Dec. 24.